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2021 Virtual Market Outlook Workshop reflects on positive growth and looks ahead to a stabilizing 2022

Marking its second year of the Market Outlook Workshop being virtual only, the 2021 event was held August 6-7 and featured valuable insights from global and national economic experts across several industries.
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2022 construction

Marking its second year of the Market Outlook Workshop being virtual only, the 2021 online event was held August 6-7 and featured valuable insights from global and national economic experts across several industries. Jointly produced by the Valve Manufacturers of America (VMA) and the Hydraulic Institute (HI), end-use markets included oil and gas; global mining; hydrogen energy; the U.S. electricity market; commercial construction; water and wastewater; global chemical processing; pulp and paper; and the U.S. pharmaceutical market.

Speakers also presented on global and domestic economic outlooks, Wall Street trends, pending congressional infrastructure plans and an update on the state of international trade.

About 150 people participated in the workshop, which included a seamless combination of previously recorded presentations followed by engaging question-and-answer sessions in the live forums that followed and allowed for discussion and networking. Attendee Cris Sidwell from Flowserve commented, “The presentations provided great insights on market growth/decline and market drivers.” And registrant Julia Henning with Trillium Flow Technologies added, “The economic outlook presentations were excellent and gave a good view of the current market conditions.”

“We are really pleased with this year’s virtual workshop, and while I look forward to holding the 2022 event in person with our partners at the Hydraulic Institute, the online content was strong with expert speakers and included a few new segments (mining, hydrogen and pharmaceutical) applicable to the valve and pump industry,” said Heather Rhoderick, CAE, president of VMA. “Given the pandemic and all its repercussions, VMA has adapted well, and this annual event is a reflection of our commitment to offering the highest quality content possible no matter the venue,” she added.

Broad Themes

Overall, the news for 2021 is good with soaring consumer demand as the United States and the world cautiously emerges from wide-reaching COVID effects. Across all markets and presentations, recurring 2021 topics revolved around continuing supply chain challenges, inflation and labor shortages. After a chaotic 2020 filled with economic and manufacturing setbacks associated with the pandemic, 2021 is in a strong rebound phase — one that the presenters predict will soften somewhat in the year ahead. “The growth rate will likely slow in 2022, but it’s relative to the snap-back 2021 demand that’s also been a stressor in some ways,” explained Eric Post, senior economist, ITR Economics.

Infrastructure

Much hinges on the massive $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that the Senate passed and is now headed to the House of Representatives. The bill would include $55 billion for water and wastewater — a tenfold increase in funds if the legislation goes through. Among many other water and wastewater topics covered, noteworthy are water shortage and drought-related issues, especially in the West where alternative sources like desalination are underway and will grow, which would benefit the valve and pump industries.

Specialty Sectors

The pandemic’s effects were felt in the pharmaceutical market with a decrease in prescriptions due to fewer doctor’s visits (although there was an increase in the use of telemedicine). Investment was up, however, with the production of vaccinations for the COVID-19 virus.

The paper and pulp industry saw increases in consumer tissue use and home deliveries of goods and food, resulting in an uptick for corrugated boxes and folded cartons; meanwhile, however, institutional use declined with remote work and much less office paper being used for printing.

Chemical processing, like other industries is experiencing an overall recovery after the dubbed “Corona hangover” of unprecedented and volatile “sharp declines and sharp returns” rarely seen in this market. 

Energy Markets

In the energy sector, ESG (environmental, social and governance) was a prime topic and one that is causing industries to look 5-10 years ahead, particularly how it relates to climate change, population shifts and where people are living. Also discussed was President Biden’s electric vehicle (EV) target for 50% of new car sales to be EVs by 2030. A crossover industry/session also featured was the mining sector and the supply gap for commodities such as copper and lithium that are needed for a decarbonized future with EVs. Similarly, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and the use of hydrogen as a viable energy source is on a path toward transitioning to the renewables space in the ongoing and growing effort of reducing carbon emissions.

In Closing

This is just a brief overview of the 11 presentations. The entire workshop is available to members and nonmembers through by registering by September 3, 2021. All registrants receive access to all presentations and the forum discussions/Q&A with speakers through the end of the year. Visit https://www.vma.org/mpage/MarketOutlook for more information. Professional Development Hours (PDHs) are available to attendees who complete the sessions.

Along with the Hydraulic Institute that produced the event with VMA, the VMA would like to thank these media partners: Empowering Pumps & Equipment, Pump Engineer and VALVE Magazine. Special appreciation also goes to the VMA’s member Market Trends Committee for helping plan this workshop.

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